The results are out: after many weeks of whittling down contestants, heartache and drama, the remaining 29 contestants in the Idols race to fame faced the judges in this week's episode to find out whether they will be moving on to the show's spectacular live voting rounds.
First, Randall, Gareth, Unathi and newcomer to the judging panel Somizi called in all the guys one by one. This unusual move from the judges gnawed at the girls' nerves, making them wonder how this would impact them and perhaps the number of contestants going forward. In the end, however, the judges settled on a Top 16. But then there was another surprise awaiting viewers. After showing all the action from Sun City, it was announced that one of the singers, Nonhle Mhlongo (29) from Durban withdrew from the competition due to personal reasons.
So, the judges unanimously decided to give her spot to Amanda Antony (22) whom they initially sent home after it came down to choosing between her and Nadia Herbst (20) from Paarl.
This means that the Top 16 are (in alphabetical order):
Amanda Antony (22) for whom Idols SA has been a true rollercoaster ride. In 2013 she famously made it to Sun City when Unathi gave her a Golden Ticket in PE after Algoa FM had spotted her great singing talent, but then she bombed out during Hell Week. She recently completed her Music Studies at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
Spunky Bridgitt Leahy (18) who blew the judges away with her original song at the Durban auditions. She hails from Creighton in the Southern Drakensberg and currently lives with her mom in Pietermaritzburg, where she is being home-schooled.
Dineo Moseki (21) who lives in Vryburg with her sisters and nieces and nephews, where she works as a full-time professional singer. The pint-sized Dineo has been singing all of her life, in school choirs and church choirs, and turned professional in 2012.
Elwira Standili (22) from Worcester gave up her Management Assistance studies once she won that coveted Golden Ticket at the Idols SA auditions in Cape Town this February.
24-year-old Karabo Mogane from Nelspruit, who studied Geoinformatics at the University of Stellenbosch before getting into the Idols SA Season 11 Top 16.
Loyiso Gijana from Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape is 16, the youngest singer in the competition. Up until now he was a learner at Muir College in Uitenhage.
Lungisa Xhamela (24) from Langa in the Cape gave up his studies in medical bioscience at the University of the Western Cape to pursue his musical dreams full-time, for the sake of his two-year-old daughter.
Mmatema Moreni (23) from Limpopo qualified as a professional linguist who speaks four languages. Before she entered Idols she also worked as a part-time marketing assistant and worked for her church on the side.
20-year-old Business Management student Nadia Herbst from Paarl has already won the title of Miss Teen Cape Town and Miss Teen Western Cape, and now she has a third title in her sights: South Africa’s new Idol!
17-year-old Nina Terblanche hails from Nelspruit, where she is a Grade 10 scholar who has Music as a school subject, and she also sings in the school choir and competes in Eisteddfods.
Jozi native Phila Madlingozi’s name may sound familiar, because at age 25 he has starred in drama series like “Intersexions” and “Mutual Friends”, and has posted many of his own music videos on YouTube.
21-year-old Rhema Varrie was encouraged to go into music by his father, a pastor, who spotted his potential at an early age. Rhema is currently a financial advisor who supports his extended family.
Ruan Grobbelaar (24) from Somerset West was studying software development at the University of Stellenbosch when he got his Golden Ticket at the Cape Town auditions in February.
Shenay O’Brien (25) is making history as the competition's first drag queen in the voting rounds. Prior to Idols, Shenay shared a home in Roodepoort with her creator, former Tshwane University of Technology drama student and performer Thiart Li.
Siphelele Ngcobo (24) from Durban has been making his living as a singer since 2012. He studied classical singing in school and since matriculating he’s been focusing on gospel and jazz in his hometown of Inanda, near Durban, where he lives with his mother and siblings.
Thami Shobede (27) hails from Mthubathuba but is currently based in Johannesburg, where he worked for Transnet before making it into the Top 16 of Idols SA 11. He also plays the bagpipes – a skill he learned while being in the Defence Force.
From next week these talented young singers will compete for your votes during the Idols Group Shows. On Sunday, 30 August the eight guys will strut their stuff and on Sunday, 6 September it will be the ladies' turn. Idols SA is broadcast live on M-Net, channel 101, and Mzansi Magic, channel 161, and until the Group Shows start, you can still watch all the auditions on channel 199 on DStv.
Follow all the Idols SA conversations on the official Idols SA Facebook page, on Twitter by following @IdolsSA, or on Instagram by following @IdolsSA. You can also find Idols on WeChat on the ID “idolssa”, where you can test your knowledge by using the keyword “Quiz”.